McLouth, Beachy could be back soon

HOUSTON — Center fielder Nate McLouth (strained oblique) could also be back from the disabled list within a week, in which case the Braves will have an outfield decision with Jordan Schafer.

While filling in for McLouth, Schafer has provided strong center-field defense and a spark at the leadoff position with speed and a base-stealing threat the Braves lacked.

Gonzalez indicated that McLouth or Schafer would move to left field, where the Braves will likely be without standout Martin Prado for at least the rest of June as he recovers from a staph infection.

“I don’t know which one [would move to left],” Gonzalez said. “I know Schafer’s done it. In spring training he played all three. We made sure he played all three in spring training. I don’t know that Nate’s every played another position other than center field.”

McLouth played eight games (five starts) in left field in 2010. Of the two, Schafer has a much stronger arm and probably better speed and range.

Before Monday’s series finale at Houston, Schafer had  stolen more bases (four) in the past three days against the Astros than any other Brave had stolen all season.

Schafer had only hit .222 (14-for-63) with a .319 OBP in 16 games since arriving from Triple-A Gwinnett to replace McLouth, but had seven stolen bases in nine attempts. The rest of the Braves had a combined 12 stolen bases this season in 28 attempts before Monday.

In his past five games, Schafer was 6-for-21 (.286) with a triple and five steals.

McLouth has been on the DL since May 23, a day after right fielder Jason Heyward was DL’d. McLouth has faced live pitching at the team’s training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and is expected to begin a rehab assignment within a few days.

Even with Prado out, the Braves would have a potentially strong defensive outfield with McLouth, Schafer and Heyward, who began a rehab assignment at Gwinnett on Monday and could be activated as soon as Wednesday.

“It’s almost like having three center fielders out there, because Heyward’s pretty good [defensively],” Gonzalez said. “He’s got good range, and then you’ve got Nate and Schafer.

“All three are left-handed hitters. You wish one of them was a right-handed hitter, you know? That’s the way it goes.”

The Braves have used a combination of veteran utiliy man Eric Hinske, journeyman Joe Mather and rookie Matt Young to fill in at the outfielder corners.

Young, after struggling mightily in his first major league stint earlier in the season, Young was 6-for-19 (.316) with two walks and a .381 OBP in the past five games before Monday, all in right field.

Hinske hit home runs Friday and Saturday against Houston while making starts in left.

Beachy nearing return, too

Brandon Beachy is scheduled to make rehab starts for Gwinnett on Thursday and June 21, after which he could be ready to rejoin the Braves’ starting rotation.

The rookie right-hander has been on the DL since May 14 with a strained oblique in his left side, and Thursday will be his first rehab start following three simulated innings Saturday at the Braves’ training camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Beachy is scheduled to throw 70-80 pitches Thursday and about 100 pitches on June 21. If he has no setbacks, it seems likely he’ll be activated. Mike Minor will make his third fill-in start for Beachy on Thursday against the Mets, and the Brave have also used prospect Julio Teheran as a fill-in starter.

39 comments Add your comment

Jim

June 13th, 2011
9:14 pm

With his lack of range and candy-ass arm, McLouth should definitely be the one to move to left, if he gets into the lineup at all.

jim towes

June 13th, 2011
9:19 pm

Why would you start McLouth over Hinske?

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

Draftteach

June 13th, 2011
9:52 pm

When Prado returns, I am for telling McLousy here is your money and let him go.

Rupert

June 13th, 2011
10:01 pm

There is no real baseball reason to play McLouth in center. It’s a pride thing if it happens, which will be shame. Shafer is faster, has a much better arm, which he uses, and gets better reads on balls. There is just no comparison defensively. McLouth has played left before, he can handle it. The Braves need Shafer’s range in center, not wasting away in left.

Hinske Da Man

June 13th, 2011
10:04 pm

This is what happens when you have second rate players like Mather, Young, and Hicks playing instead of guys like Prado, Heyward, and Gonzo. Those guys would have saved some runs as well as scored some.

fred

June 13th, 2011
10:25 pm

alot of GM’s on tonight……….Love to have a Bourn & Pence on this team.

BravesFAN

June 13th, 2011
10:28 pm

I say trade Nate dude is such a bum scrub. He’s been nothing but a let down since we traded for him. Make him part of a package with one or two of our young pitching arms and get a REAL BAT thst we can USE that will make us better Frank PLEASEEEE man we could always use another bat!!!

Darryl Blackberry

June 13th, 2011
10:38 pm

mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2011/ballot.jsp

Vote up to 25 times for B-Mac as starting catcher in the All-Star Game! Do it, or else we’ll be stuck with Yadier Molina.

fred

June 13th, 2011
10:40 pm

Double for Matt……

DaveinNEPA

June 13th, 2011
10:42 pm

If Cox were still manager, I would say that McClouth would probably stay in CF with Schafer moving to left because He always gave the veteran player the benefit of the doubt. But…..Bobby isn’t the manager anymore and I think Fredi will move McClouth to left simply because Schafer does bring more to the table defensively and speed wise.

Hopefully FW can find a taker for Nate when Prado returns. He makes too much money to have to sit on the bench. (we all know how “salary politics” works.)

fred

June 13th, 2011
10:46 pm

3 run homer for Mr. Schafer..the road runner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DaveinNEPA

June 13th, 2011
10:46 pm

I no sooner posted and Schafer hits the 3-run HR. I think he needs to stay right where he is.

PMC

June 13th, 2011
11:00 pm

So, um, Lowe would be the best pitcher from our perspective to trade for a center fielder, but I don’t think there’s anyway he brings back the kind of value we are hoping for.

PMC

June 13th, 2011
11:01 pm

They traded for McClouth because Schaffer was hurt in the first place. Irony?

O-me

June 13th, 2011
11:01 pm

Schafer is making a statement, he’s not going anywhere.
Just hope he doesn’t start trying to hit homers.

alex

June 13th, 2011
11:24 pm

ugly, throw away game starting young,mather, and hicks;Mather looked particularly bad at the plate.Gave the Major leaguers a rest, all in all a good series.Offense is still offensive. Surfeit of pitching plus relatively poor hitting =trade.Please sit Mather play hinske,please…….Schaefer stirs the pot, great defense all night in a unusual field.Will be there tommarrow with the 2 boys in tow .GO GET’EM JJ

SB75

June 13th, 2011
11:25 pm

Question for those asaying trade 1 of our young arms and Nate for a bat, where would we play that bat. The Braves can not make a big move ( baring injury) until they know what Chipper is going to do. I’m all for trading Nate, but it will likely be for a prospect.

mathman

June 13th, 2011
11:29 pm

Could play that bat in LF until Prado returns. Then, could play that bat in LF when Prado plays for Chipper.

SB75

June 13th, 2011
11:41 pm

mathman that’s my point. When healthy, we have no where to play that bat everyday. FW would be off his rocker to trade one of our prized arms for a player that won’t play everyday and we don’t even know if he will have a spot for them next year. We can’t do anything until we know what Chipper will do next year.

SB75

June 13th, 2011
11:43 pm

Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of young bats I might part with one of our arms for. But since we don’t have a spot other than SS where have an opening next year, it becomes nearly impossible.

Cisco Cheesehead

June 13th, 2011
11:56 pm

Uh, Nate makes much more than he is worth. The only place he will go is Gwinnett. Mather too. Or back to the DL. Anybody else see that uggly uppercut working it’s way back into McWhatever’s swing? You would have to let him wear glasses to hit a Pinada.

gcs

June 14th, 2011
12:07 am

Nate, Nate, Nate. Take your time. Don’t hurry back. You just stay on that DL as long as you want. We’re fine with it.

.

GT Alum

June 14th, 2011
12:21 am

Not even sure Nate is a quality RF, much less CF. Move him to LF when he comes back. If Fredi puts him back in CF, there will be a bigger outcry than there was when he hit Nate 2nd.

Tomahawk Mafia

June 14th, 2011
1:24 am

There is precedent in the CF question. Last year (2010) when the Braves had Ankiel patrolling CF while McLouth was down in AAA, Cox kept Ankiel there and McLouth played LF. There was even a game, I believe in Pittsburgh in September where McLouth started in CF and shifted to LF when Ankiel entered lated in the game. I believe that McClouth will be the one to make the move when he comes off the DL. I believe that Fredi is smart enough to make the correct decision, or atleast I hope he is smart enough.

hightopfadeout

June 14th, 2011
2:38 am

Is Prado really going to be out for all of June? or is that just a possibility
also i dont know about the McLouth situation but I think we should keep Mather and leave him in the majors I think he’s good just hit a rough patch recently i think we should trade Young or send him back to the minors

JJ

June 14th, 2011
3:07 am

I believe we have found our CF and if possible I hope we can move McLough because Little Nan Young is a keeper.Mac should not be installed as our starting LF because Hinske needs to play and really Mac just don;t add anyrhing to this Team.He is not even a good replacement in late innings because he can’t throw.Sometime it just don;t play to get hurt.It has worked out good for The Braves and really there is no room for McLOUGH.Young is better of the bench and he is playing good ball right now.Let McL join KK in the minors and just be ready if needed.

Blaze

June 14th, 2011
10:26 am

Good comment Tamahawk Mafia…..I remember that move by Cox as well! Trade Mclouth for a very good utility infielder that bats right-handed

Doug

June 14th, 2011
10:37 am

If it was me and my money I’d give Mclouth 4 more months to rest up, let him go home and relax the check will be in the mail.

It is time to give Schafer the CF job and see what he can do the rest of this season, I have a feeling he will produce and become a solid player who can also run.

Trade McLouth? good luck unless a decent pitcher is part of a package deal. Lowe & McLouth to the Yankees…… ??

Everyone knows we need a righthanded hitting outfielder with some punch. One of these days/years Prado is going to be the third baseman everyday, Chipper isn’t going to last forever sadly.

Bobby Bobby

June 14th, 2011
10:48 am

I say let McLouth play center- in Gwinnett.

Randall H.

June 14th, 2011
1:31 pm

Who cares about McLost,let him finish his overpaid employment in exile in the minors. Shafer has done way more getting on and as a defensive fielder. Maybe just maybe the team will finally learn a lesson about going after players that had 1 good year.7 miilion for mclost and 11 million for kawasaki and you’ve cripled your teams payroll, go Shafer!

Randall H.

June 14th, 2011
1:40 pm

Evreryone who wants to trade mclaugh needs to remember that no one else other than the braves would trade for an over rated player making 7 mill a year. You couldn’t get a dozen ptactice balls for him.

K.C. Frenchy

June 14th, 2011
1:45 pm

Hey Moylan, quit rehabbing at Hooters! Bikini contest judge doesnt count as rehab!

Largo

June 14th, 2011
2:34 pm

Mather had his 15 minutes of fame. He wasn’t worth a damn before that and hasn’t been any good since, and he’s the one who comes to bat with the bases loaded. Why was he even in the game? Nice going Fredi!

bobby

June 14th, 2011
3:58 pm

Fredi said Heyward was a good defensive outfielder. Who has he been watching in Heywards uniform. He’s only average at best.

Mark (another one)

June 14th, 2011
4:14 pm

At the beginning of the season, McLouth’s salary was a hinderence to any trade. He is still owed about $3 million for the rest of the year. It’s a lot of money but at the same time it is sunk money. The Braves will not be able to get someone to pick up that contract, but it doesn’t make sense to completely throw it away by waiving him immediately.

That said, I think the experiment has about run its course. Shafer is the CF of the future, and needs to play. There is no benefit from sending him down or to left. Leave him alone and see if he can play out the season proving his worth.

I’d platoon Hinske and Mather in left, waiting for Prado to return. If the Braves believe McLouth is better on the bench than Young, that’s fine. When Prado comes back, Young goes down or McLouth gets waived. Its a numbers game and there just isn’t room to carry McLouth if Shafer is producing in CF. The bench (Hinske and Mather) is stronger for the playing time and ready for the push.

I see the Braves eventually parting ways with McLouth unless someone else gets injured before they are forced to waive him. I’m hesitant ot make Young a bench player for too long as he will benefit from playing in the minors and he has options left. Either way, this is the 25 spot on the roster.

happydays1324

June 14th, 2011
5:05 pm

Why is everyone on here acting like Nate has been so terrible this year? He may not have had the best average but he was leading the team in runs scored even after he was on the DL. I’m kind of shocked at how he’s been hurt for a little bit and all of a sudden everyone is for getting rid of him? Yes, Jordan Schafer has been playing well, but why are we all for cutting Nate and not even giving him a chance to come back from an injury? Who’s to say he doesn’t come back stronger than when he got hurt? Give him a chance to come back before trying to get him fired.

Eric

June 14th, 2011
5:42 pm

can hunter pence play centerfield?

alanfalcon

June 14th, 2011
6:18 pm

Hinski is the best bench player we have and needs rest along the way, it would be hard to start him as a regular, it would kill the bench, Ross is good but FG will not use him as a substitue incase Brian gets hurt. Young is a good addition and has proven he can grow into the job off the bench as well as being a multi position player (Mather and Hicks need to go down)

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